From Purse to Hearse
By Abe Lerner
Common Purse Contents May be Fatal to Pets
Arriving home from work, Tonya casually tossed her jacket and purse on the couch, as Khalil acknowledging her entry, leaping into her waiting arms. The frisky puppy was adored by his pet parents. Continuing upstairs to change into something more comfortable, she eventually became immersed in a load of laundry. The chomping sounds emanating from the living room were drowned out by the humming of the washing machine.
Laundry in order, Tonya began preparing dinner, excited about the new chicken recipe that she had found online. Teriyaki chicken was Brandon’s favorite, and he would be home within the hour. As the chicken aroma permeated the kitchen, an eerie silence descended upon the house. It took a moment until it dawned on her. Where was Khalil?
Routinely a spectator while Tonya toiled in the kitchen, Khalil was keenly aware that his own mealtime was nearing, as they all ate simultaneously. Tonight however, Khalil was a no-show. Calling out his name, she made her way to the front of the house. From her vantage point in the foyer, her eyes caught a glimpse of a still figure stretched out on the couch, alongside a chewed up asthma inhaler. Sizing up the situation, she immediately called Brandon on his cell, but it was too late. Khalil had passed away. Brandon came home to a shrieking wife who was inconsolable. A traumatic week ensued, culminating with a private burial ceremony, as Khalil was laid to rest.
Utilizing the bereavement leave allowance from her company to take time off, it enabled Tonya to reflect on the tragedy. A woman guided by faith, Tonya believed that nothing occurred at random. Perhaps the calamity that had befallen her and Brandon was somehow intended to propel them to spread the word, consequently preventing others from suffering a similar fate. She shared her thoughts with Brandon, who agreed wholeheartedly that this was a call to action.
Speaking to their local vet, they learned that multiple items in a purse, can pose a danger for pets. Khalil had ingested heavily concentrated doses of albuterol, when puncturing the asthma inhaler. Being exposed to substantial quantities of albuterol or steroids, can lead to severe poisoning and even death. Other handbag contents can be equally as toxic. Sugarless gum, human medications, and hand sanitizers all contain ingredients that are hazardous (and potentially fatal) to animals, yet they aren’t perceived as anything but standard purse accessories. Sadly though, they account for a portion of the entries on the Pet Poison Helpline list, of the top ten most frequently reported poison dangers for dogs.
“If only people were more cognizant of how a seemingly innocent handbag could ultimately kill a family member, they’d be more vigilant in stowing them away in secure locations”, said Tonya. “But what can WE do, that will create public awareness?”
Any ideas out there from our audience to share with Tonya and Brandon?
A possible approach would be to design a plastic picture insert that could be affixed to a women’s purse. A tastefully decorated background would contain the following message:
To my Mom-you are great!
Your purse however, is not my plate
The following from you, I do beseech
Please keep it far away, out of my reach
Complete with the pet’s photo, it would add some charm to the exterior of the purse. Local pet supply stores could participate, by having their cashiers distribute one to each customer as a free gift to promote the cause. Taking notice of the prominently displayed picture of their loved one and the accompanying poem, would perhaps prompt people to think twice before leisurely flinging their handbags!
How would YOU advise them? We’d love to hear your suggestions! Please share them with us on our Facebook page.